On 25 April 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee for Transport and Tourism organized a meeting with several guest speakers, mainly from the UK, to discuss the current and possible future effect of Brexit on the European and British tourism industries.
A number of issues emerged to be key priorities for the participants:
- Additional administrative burdens at airports and border delays should be avoided to ensure the free flow of tourists between the UK and EU27 countries and not to be of detriment to destinations’ desirability;
- Maintaining the Single European Sky initiative is vital, both for tourists and tourism workers, in order to avoid the decrease of flights and the incline of prices;
- Health insurance should be coordinated, in order to prevent health assistance from becoming more expensive and troublesome;
- Free mobile data roaming should be preserved;
- A beneficial arrangement on the delicate subject of EU workers in the UK and vice versa must be found;
- The UK must keep its participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Malcom Roughead, CEO of Visit Scotland, seems to believe that Scotland will be able protect its strategic partnerships with European operators.
There is still no clear data as to whether Brexit has hurt UK and EU tourism but, since 2016, a worrying sign has emerged from the Spanish region of Valencia, hit by a 31% decrease in British demand for real estate.
For the future, Thomas Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association, foresees the opening of EU branches by British operators, while Nigel Morgan, Professor in the School of Management at Swansea University, advised not to base strategic planning on the short term depreciation of the pound.
In conclusion, all speakers voiced the industry’s concern to maintain the status quo as much and for as long as possible.